Purpose/objectives: To examine the effectiveness of a psychoeducational intervention on quality of life (QOL) in breast cancer survivors in post-treatment survivorship.
Design: A randomized controlled trial.
Setting: An academic center collaborating with a regional cancer center in the southeastern United States.
Sample: 256 breast cancer survivors.
Methods: Women were randomly assigned to the experimental or wait control group. The Breast Cancer Education Intervention (BCEI) study was delivered in three face-to-face sessions and five monthly follow-up sessions (three by telephone and two in person). The control group received four monthly attention control telephone calls and the BCEI at month 6. Data were collected at baseline, three and six months after the BCEI for the experimental group, and one month after the BCEI (at month 7) for the wait control group.
Main research variables: Primary endpoints were overall QOL and physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being.
Findings: No differences in QOL were reported at baseline between groups. The experimental group reported improved QOL at three months, whereas the wait control group reported a significant decline in QOL. The experimental group reported continued maintenance of QOL at six months. Although the wait control group reported improved QOL at six months, significant differences continued to exist between the groups.
Conclusions: The BCEI was an effective intervention in improving QOL during the first year of breast cancer survivorship. Treatment effects were durable over time.
Implications for nursing: Post-treatment survivorship has not been empirically studied to a large degree. The BCEI is one of the few interventions demonstrating effectiveness among survivors after primary treatment, suggesting that oncology nurses may be uniquely positioned to provide safe passage using education and support.